The National Women’s Soccer League’s newest team has drafted itself a roster full of players, and one of them is currently on loan at Tottenham Hotspur Women. Racing Louisville selected Orlando Pride’s Australian midfielder/defender Alanna Kennedy, currently on loan at Spurs, in the sixth round of the expansion draft today.
How can they do this? It’s a thing. Racing Lousiville is a brand new franchise, the newest in the NWSL. As per league rules, the other NWSL teams get to protect 11 of their current players, including up to two US Women’s National Team players, and then Louisville gets fourteen picks of whoever is left, up to a max of two players from any one team. Louisville can also draft only two allocated USWNT players total. Teams that have a player or players drafted by Louisville are compensated $75,000 for their trouble, and the new team gets to start life with what one hopes is at least a cromulent team.
Louisville’s biggest signings were USWNT players Tobin Heath and Christen Press, both of whom are currently on loan at Manchester United, but they also snatched Kennedy in the sixth round. However, there’s a caveat — Kennedy’s NWSL contract expires at the end of the season, so theoretically she could choose not to re-sign and move elsewhere... or stay at Spurs if she wishes. Tottenham apparently have an option to purchase her outright should the club wish.
However, that could be pretty unlikely. Really, the bigger question is whether she returns to Louisville whenever NWSL preseason camp starts (which could be anytime, really), or after the conclusion of the current WSL season. Kennedy is playing for Spurs mostly because she wants to keep match fit in hopes of making the Australian national team for this summer’s Olympic Games, and because the NWSL is currently on hiatus.
We don’t know yet whether being drafted will make it less likely that she stays for the whole season or not. Same with Shelina Zadorsky or even Alex Morgan — they’re on pretty much open ended loan contracts at the moment and we’ll just have to wait and see whether or not they stay in North London.